Growing Greener Every Day

Making an Island: A Sensory Experience
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Making an Island: A Sensory Experience

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Home Kid's Corner Making an Island: A Sensory Experience

This activity came from a failed recipe for making dinosaur eggs – we had so much fun making them I set it up again, this time making an island out of the mixture so we could have another level to an otherwise simple sensory activity. We do a lot of sensory opportunities in our home as my son has always struggled with touching sticky, messy, gooey “stuff”, and seems to feel panic when getting too messy. We do our messy sensory play in a calm, relaxed space with plenty of time for the play and cleanup. Sometimes we have to go beyond hand-washing to middle-of-the-day bath time, but these experience have helped him grow and I’ve happily witnessed him engaging in dirty, messy play with his fellow preschoolers as of late. It completely warms my heart to see him enjoy this kind of play as only a free-spirited small human can!

I like this activity because the ingredients are already easily found in the home of families with small children, and part of being greener in my home is finding multiple uses for household items. If you chose to create this mixture I do suggest adding less water than we did, a nearly impossible task if you have small helping hands (even using a play watering can lead to overwatering!). I imagine with less water this mixture could possibly yield those “drip from your hand” sandcastles we made at the beach as kids. It’s on my list to try; I’d love to hear from you if you manage it! I also suggest doing same day cleanup, as the mixture can get a bit smelly if left too long in watery buckets (we did soak some dinosaurs overnight previously to remove the stickier parts and that was fine).

You Will Need:

Sensory Experience:
– 2 ½ cups Sand
– 1 ¼ cups Flour
– ½ cup Salt
– Water
– Sand Buckets, play watering cans, shovels and scoops of your choosing
– Some sort of platform to pour the sand on you don’t mind sending to the recycle bin when done (ours is twice used cardboard covered in foil)

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Island Creating:
– The platform you played on will become your island
– Some sort of platform to pour the sand on you don’t mind sending to the recycle bin when done (ours is twice used cardboard covered in foil)
– Trees (I don’t mind prying these plastic ones from the hardened mixture eventually, but you may chose to do a nature walk to find fallen branches or leaves to create your trees)
– We are using blue glass pieces for water, and a former fish bowl decoration as a treasure chest, but shells and rocks also make nice additions

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Now, back to the mushy fun! Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add water to achieve your desired consistency. I like to transfer the mixture to another sand bucket at this point to ensure the bottom dry ingredients get mixed in well.

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Begin your sensory play – drip, squeeze, smear your mixture. Experience the sensation of the mixture in your hands and listen to any sounds made. Quietly explore or ask and answer questions. For this part I have a small bucket of water and towel for hand cleaning if the mess gets to be too much to handle

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If your play turns into an island like ours did, use your supplies to create your masterpiece – sinking the glass pieces into the mixture was particularly fun!

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We let our finished island dry in the sun on a hot day and left it out over night. Yours may need more or less time due to consistency and weather. We set up some pirate play as soon as it was ready!

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